That is the question posed by this year's Veterans of Foreign Wars 'Voice of Democracy' contest. Since 1947, the VFW has been giving high school students a chance to express their thoughts in the subject of patriotism. Not just a written essay, the Voice of Democracy is an audio essay, where contestants first craft their message and then record it in their own voice.
Entries are submitted to your local VFW post, where they will compete for over 3 million dollars in scholarships and prize money. Most smaller posts like Owatonna offer between $50 and $150 to winners, and winners then go on to compete at the district and state level, with increasing prizes at each level. Top prize is a $30,000 college scholarship to the winner's choice of school, and a trip to Washington DC to accept the prize.
There is also a contest for junior high students, called the Patriot's Pen, on the topic 'Does Patriotism Still matter?' with a top prize of $10,000.
But the real winner will be the next generation of American leaders, who have a chance to creatively express their patriotism while earning money for college.
More information on the Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen contests can be found at the links, and you can find your local Veterans of Foreign Wars post here.